The World Health Organization estimates that the common cold (Influenza) kills anywhere from 290,000 to about 650,000 people every year. A good majority, if not all of these deaths, stem from people who already have a weak immune system when they contract the common cold.
Thankfully, however, having a strong immune system could help keep you off this dreadful list. So, what are the signs of a strong immune system, and how can you get one?
Signs of a Strong Immune System
Before we jump into the signs that you have a strong immune system, it’s best to get this small but important fact out of the way: getting sick doesn’t mean you don’t have a strong immune system!
In fact, it’s sometimes best to get sick so that your immunity can fight off the disease. Every time you get sick and let your immunity fight off the disease without much medical help, it gets strong.
It does so by making more antibodies that are specific to that infection. This way, it will be a lot less likely for you to contract the same disease again, and even if you do, it will very likely be a milder case because of your body’s immune system.
So, yes, it’s fine to get sick. Doing so doesn’t always mean that you are in poor health.
That being said, here are some signs of a strong immune system:
1. You Can Sleep Through the Night
About 30% of the population has insomnia and experience troublesome sleeping tendencies. While the ability to sleep through the night can be enhanced by taking medication, being able to do so on your own accord could be a sign of excellent immunity.
This has everything to do with your immune system’s ability to regulate your sleep pattern. When it comes to bedtime, a healthy body (meaning one with a healthy immune system) increases the presence of some proteins called cytokines.
These small proteins are designed to induce fatigue and make it possible for you to sleep all night long. Having trouble sleeping means that your immune system isn’t producing this protein, at least not enough of it, which might mean that something is off.
2. You Do Get Sick from Time to Time
As already mentioned, getting sick from time to time is a good thing. It means that your immunity is working and getting the kind of “exercise or training” it needs to keep you healthy and alive. Conversely, if you don’t get sick or very rarely do, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are very healthy. It could mean that your immunity is suppressed.
It could mean that even though bacteria and viruses are coming into your body (this happens day in and day out regardless), your defenses aren’t actually getting activated to fight them off. This means that you may very well be more at risk than you realize and should have a full-body checkup by your doctor.
3. Your Recover Quickly
While “quickly” here is very subjective, the idea is that diseases shouldn’t take long to recover from if you have a healthy immune system. Say, for example, the common cold typically takes you about a week to recover from, and suddenly you are going into two, three weeks of suffering from the same cold. That prolonged period of recovery is an indication that your immunity isn’t as strong and as sharp as it used to be.
4. You Don’t Get Re-infected with the Same Disease Over and Over
Have you ever contracted a virus, then three days later, it feels like you are out of the woods only to fall back sick again in two days or so? That is a sign that your body’s immune system hadn’t completely rid your body of the virus. It means that your immune system is having difficulty fighting off the infection fully.
Your immunity is designed to fully rid itself of whatever germs are causing the sickness but instead, it’s only doing so partially, allowing the sickness to fester. It also means that your immunity will need extensive help from medication to get the job done fully.
5. You Hardly Have any Digestive Tract Issues
There is research showing that almost 70% of our immunity resides in our gut. That is one of the main reasons it’s often referred to as the “second brain.” If you frequently have issues such as gas, diarrhea, and constipation, it could be a sign that your immunity is compromised.
The healthy bacteria and microorganisms that reside in your gut are designed to defend your body from infections as well as support your immune system. The fact that you are having frequent digestive tract issues means that that defense isn’t up to par, and as a consequence, your immunity doesn’t get the support it needs.
6. Your Wounds Heal Fast
A healthy person’s skin is quick to go into “damage control” mode whenever they get a cut, burn, or scrape. Ideally, your body works to protect and keep germs from getting in through the wound by sending out nutrient-rich blood. This helps to regenerate new skin around the injured area.
However, if you have a sluggish immune system, this process isn’t quite as seamless, nor is it rapid. This means that there aren’t enough healthy immune cells being sent to the site of the wound, and as such, very little skin regeneration takes place. The wound will then fester and get even more infected.
7. You Are Energetic
Think of your body as a machine designed to maximize efficiency. If one part doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to, that slack will most likely be felt in other parts. When your immune system isn’t up to par or working as efficiently and effectively as it should, your body will try to help it out by conserving energy to fuel your immunity so it can keep fighting off germs.
If you find that you constantly feel exhausted despite getting enough sleep, it could be a sign that your immune system needs a little help.
These are all reliable signs of a strong immune system. If you find that you are falling short at any one point, it’s worth going into to get a checkup or taking steps to boost your immunity.